Sunday, December 12, 2010

How do you tell if your child is gifted?

I want to stress that the gifted are normal people.But they face special challenges, especially unreal expectations, notably being seen as strange and unhappy. Others, such as parents and teachers, can feel threatened by them and react with put-downs. What they need is acceptance for who they are, appropriate opportunities to develop their potential and reliable moral support. These types of scenarios are not unusual. In fact, some estimate that the majority of gifted children in the schools are never identified.

Parents should become familiar with the signs of giftedness even before their child starts school. Most school districts do not even start identifying children for gifted programs until second or third grade, and parents of exceptionally bright or gifted children may want to consider private testing or alternative placement options (such as a private preschool school program or early grade acceleration) before that time.

Early testing and identification can be a controversial subject, but many advocates of gifted children believe that they should be identified as soon as possible so that their unique needs and talents can be acknowledged and nurtured right from the start.

Do not be entirely dependent on the schools when it comes to identification. Keep in mind that many teacher training programs require little (if any) course work in giftedness, so some teachers and school administrators may not have all the information they need to recognize gifted children. For this reason, our insights are important, and the more knowledge we have, the better position we're in to partnership with others when selecting the best programs for our child.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Parent Expertise

As an educator for almost 14 years, I have come to fully understand that parents are the true experts of their own children. We teachers do not use parent expertise nearly enough. Until I heard from my son Developmental Pediatrician regarding this matter.

Advanced language development, especially speaking in sentences earlier than milestones indicate, seems to be one possible clue for potential giftedness. An early onset of being intrinsically motivated. Children who chose to try improve their own work. Children who put pressure themselves to have things organized and as perfect as possible—even when their parents are laid back. Often children were described as those who were extremely persistent at accomplishing a task. And only parent can often described their creative child as one who “marches to his/her own beat.”

Regardless of any test, most of these gifted children were first identified at home. We are the expert on our own child. Feed their interests and encourage their curiosity.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Keep pressing on

The word "Gifted" is not commonly understood even among teachers and many educators. This puts enourmous pressure on us as parents of gifted boy. I almost lost my son's potential due to my lack of knowledge. I hoped that he will just be a normal bright child. I learned about gifted children some years ago when we had a check through developmental pediatrician and realised how badly I have failed my son who once would go in extreme speed in mastery skills.

He was asked to take him for a test, he works on any subject with flying colors that is about 2 years ahead of his grade. One morning, I got up and said " I will do the best that I can to sustain my son learning enhancement. Since then, both me and my husband have gone miles to work something out at my son. We are among handful parents who have managed to negotiate for an individual education plan where he is allowed to work on his own books in subjects where he is working in an advance level. Though he now he is a homeschool his books are fully monitored by us. This is a great challenge for a child of his age but amazingly he is coping well. Today, we can say that he enjoys homeschool to some extent. I want to say this to all parents who find help far away, "Don't give up, you can, with your determination and perseverance bring about a change for your gifted child". Your child needs you, not just as their parent and guardian but also as their advocate. Keep pressing on.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Unique Learning Style

My li'l boy Rallone has kinesthetic learning style,he cannot just sit still and wait for information to be given. He surpass in finding out things for himself without any needs for guidance. Explorers at heart, he is quite active even before a lesson proper. His natural curiosity drives him to make new discoveries, making it hard for regular schools to limit his movement. He was often mistaken to be rowdy and undisciplined. That however, is a grave misconception. "Kinesthetic learners always seem to be moving around because they see their surroundings differently. For them, the world is just a huge playground full of wonderful things they want to discover and explore."

Rallione is fond of tinkering with toys, trying to find out how they work. He is also quick learner, especially when he left alone to examine a particular object. He can quickly put one and one together and have a great capacity to understand complex processes and procedures.He is always at the forefront of experimentation and exploration.


If your child shows an extreme fondness of taking things apart to discover how they function, you should consider home schooling like what I did. They should be given the opportunity to excel in their studies using their natural skills

Observing how your child learns is the first step in developing a good home schooling program. Create a list of your child's learning behaviors and determine whether he is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner.

Choosing the right lessons, activities, and teaching methods will put your child on the right track to a successful future. In their formative years, children will develop certain attitudes towards school and learning.

Parents like you should pay close attention to their preferences and consider alternative education if you feel that regular school systems have failed in helping students achieve their full potential.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How can we differentiate between behavior problems due to sensory processing problems and behaviors due to other problems?

At first it was hard for me to differentiate too, but eventually you just learn your child. It depends on what sensory issues you are dealing with also. With us we have made a rule that even if he thinks an item of clothing doesn't feel good he at least has to try it on (even if he has before) sometimes this rule works and sometimes its a little harder with crying and a little fear, but when he turns to tantrums we tell him .. we put him in his bed and tell him he can come out when he is ready to follow the rules and speak respectfully and also we make a point to tell him that we are not upset with his because his clothes don't feel good, we are upset with him because of how he is behaving.

Also there are things that have nothing to do with needing sensory input we have noticed is just he testing his boundaries and we handle it accordingly. just remember spanking never solves anything... it will just teach them it's okay to hit considering kids learn by what you do not what you say... plus it would only backfire in a sensory kid.

We have found that if we impose certain rules that apply mid meltdown not matter what the reason for his actions it creates consistency and a general idea that no matter what you are going through it is never okay to hit or be disrespectful. Just remember to take a deep breath and walk away...

Now that Rallione is 7, thankfully he's much more affectionate, loves kisses and cuddles and constantly tells me he loves me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Extremely sensitive

It is said that crying is a normal reaction of a child missing his dad. But not for my lil boy Rallione who is now experiencing a deep sense of longing for his dad. We dropped my hubby early this morning at Terminal 1 NAIA. I sensed the intense emotions trying to escape from my lil boy.

People often believe that sensitive children like Rallione are simply being melodramatic and making a fuss over nothing. The truth is many gifted children are extremely sensitive.Rallione seems to take everything to his heart and get extremely upset by words and deeds that other children can ignore or get over quickly.He respond to each negative experience as though it was the end of the world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The reason

Through homeschooling we can impart the values to my son Rallione and turn him into self-learner by making each moment a "learning moment".Learning becomes part of his lifestyle. Even after class hours, we can teach our son. Learning takes place 24/7, not only during class hours.

Parents who come to homeschooling for various reasons, like the rising cost of tuition and other school fees. Some decided to opt for homeschooling because of their children’s traumatic experience in regular schools.

But for me, the decision to take charge of my son's education was due to his condition. My son is potentially gifted child. I wanted my son to learn more and to study at his own pace.

My son was only in grade one, probably other might think that it could be a lot of difficulties if I will allow him to study independently and at times with my guidance. But I sensed that my little boy really knew what he is supposed to do, the result of his assestment test can attest to that.

At home, we build his self-esteem. We can tell him who he really are, we don’t diminish his strengths and we don’t magnify his weaknesses.

Monday, July 12, 2010

diff. kind of learning experiences for Ral

I would rather gave Rallione a different kind of learning experience. I asked him, if he wanted me to teach him at home.He was so excited at the prospect of studying at home. We did not have to convince him! I could spend more time with you Mommy, he said.

With home-schooling, parents could adjust to the learning needs of their children. If the child learns fast, we could move on to more challenging lessons. On the other hand, if the child has difficulty in one particular lesson, the parent can spend more time on that subject.

I believe that homeschooling let me adopt teaching styles not used in traditional schools. Schools use the lecture style of teaching. Naturally, children who are good listeners excel in this setting.
With numerous studies on multiple intelligences coming out, more focus has been given to children with different learning capabilities.

My son for example, is kinesthetic—he learns more by manipulating things that Rallione was more auditory and visual, understanding things better if he could see them.

Socialization was not a problem with home-schoolers. Rallione for one has cousins across the street to play with. Socialization does not mean that you only relate with people your own age. Homeschooling will give Rallione the opportunity to deal with older people and younger ones in a confident manner.

This school year, we will start a homeschooling. Probably Rallione can do his schoolwork from Monday to Thursday. He will have Fridays to himself and weekends for the family. In homeschooling, we can finish everything in four days.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home schooling for Ral

Sorry it has been a long time! We have been so busy for the past few days! Having a gifted child a spd can completely exhaust us and professional if they are not educated on the disorder( and sometimes even if they are). Considering this situation, we decided to pull Rallione out from school. We will consider a homeschool for now.

Homeschooling can help us create a more flexible environment. Rallione likes to do things on his own. We thought that somehow home schooling will bless us esp. me with the opportunity to spend 24/7 with him. The precious time during his formative years will surely cement the bond between us. We will come to know each other 's strenght and weaknesses and this will hlp us understand and appreciate each other deeply.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wish I could have a magic wand

Believe it or not, Rallione has improved markedly once he started going to preparatory! The changes in the last year have been factors better! We were afraid to "unleash" him on his unsuspecting teacher, but Teacher Liza is a tough cookie, and she's handling him great. I was even contemplating home schooling because I thought, regular school will be a disaster!!

I'll never forget how his teacher had never heard of SPD before, and we were like, "here we go!!!" But it's amazing how things work out. I think having my son in an environment all day long where he can see how other kids act has been HUGELY good for him. His school work is great. He's had some behavior issues - he doesn't understand other people's space, etc., but his "red marks" at school are consistent -- we are working on those.

Rallione is now in first grade and he seemed OK for the first few days, but then they switched teachers on him and now his symptoms are all back. He complained about the loud sound cause by his lot of classmates, he refuses completely to wear socks.He also complaining about the longer hour of sitting in school.

The teacher and principal and the whole staff of the school are being unbelievable supportive, but it's so stressful! I'm so stressed out I can hardly sleep or eat and every time the teacher calls my attention, I jump a foot in the air for fear that he's gone into a meltdown again.

With three kids, managing his symptoms and being an advocate for his in school has been very hard. We are doing everything we can for him because we love him so much and he's the most wonderful child when he's not all freaked out about his sensory issues, but I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all turn normal.

How do I deal with my son issues and behaviors

I have only learned this through searching and reading but i found it effective at times...

Make sure to give them lots of reduces their stress with a low tone of voice and the pressure releases endorphins from their joints and they will calm down... know that it is not their fault...their senses are out of wack....when they are sitting on your lap, rub their head, run your hands up and down their legs with softness almost not push them on their eating habits, don't rush them into events, talk softly and explain what is going to happen...get them into physical. Also swinging is sooo important.... swing them and sing to them on the swing at least 30 minutes a day!!! god bless

Monday, June 28, 2010

If they only knew

Allow me to introduce you to my son:

*From the moment he was born, he wouldn’t stop crying (it took him three hours to fall asleep after his birth)
*The pacifier became his best friend until 3 years old and he never found any replacement afterwards to help him soothe himself
*I would literally spend hours gently shaking him in my arms until he fell asleep
*He startled with every noise he heard
*He would only wear “soft clothes”, no jeans or “itchy shirts”… stretch pants and cotton shirts were the staples
*Daily anxiety about the unknown/unpredictable
*Excessively ticklish
*Continues to cover his ears with loud sounds

Being my youngest child, I initially thought this was “normal”. As I became worn out by all of his emotional needs and saw his “behaviors” being “different” than other children his age, I started my quest to find out why!

Every time we attempted to discuss our concerns with his pediatrician we would only hear “that is completely normal for hisage, he’ll grow out of it, it’s only a phase…”

No one seemed to understand our son or our struggles as parents. It always seemed to come down to blaming us for being too accommodating to him…it was OUR fault. They would say, “too bad, he should just get over it!!”

There were so many misunderstandings, arguments, and judgments from family, friends, , preschools, teachers and professionals. Our frustration was increasing every day and my patience was wearing thin!

I have learned so much through educating myself, seeking professional help, doing research, specializing in this field.

Sensory Processing Disorder is a real neurological disorder, yet still so often misunderstood. It can have a huge impact on a child’s well-being, daily functioning, social skills, relationships and self-esteem.

Having a child with a Sensory Processing Disorder can also completely exhaust parents and professionals if they are not educated on the disorder (and sometimes even if they are!).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A open letter

When I found out that my Li'l boy is potentially Gifted with SPD. All I want to do is to keep the reality from relatives, friends and other people around us. But somehow my son grew up as a smart and caring li'l boy, which made me decide to share with you my life with my boy as we walk in the different phases of life.

When he was born, he cries all the time. The doctor thought it was colic, or digestive problems, so those issues were treated... But as a mom knowing your child something still didn't seem right, he always wanted to be in his diaper and wanted a hug most of the time.

I did some research until I finally read an article about the SPD with the title "ADHD Impostor". Learning about the SPD felt like a light bulb had gone on and finally I understood why my son was struggling and why we were so frustrated with his behaviour at times. I don't want my son to have a label but I do want the best for our son and want him to be as amazing as I know he can be.

Back then, I started to search for the best developmental doctors in town and finally found one. It was a great help for us to really understand what my li'l boy was. After reading the diagnosis and some of the signs of SPD and what it feels like to them, I cried and cried to know that this is what my son feels everyday. Then the guilt sets in about all the times we were angry with him... thinking he was being a brat, or unreasonable.

We also seeked occupational therapy, we see improvements, then it will just confirm for me that this a real condition, my son has it, and there are real positive steps that can be taken to help children and their parents to enjoy life more and not to struggle so much.

For instance, when he is excited, he will run and "crash" or bear hug and do touch other people he don't even know. I don't know how many times I told him to stop, or explain to him that it is inappropriate to do this, he does this anyway. He is also constantly touching others faces. I try to explain to him personal space, but it is as if he "forgets" or doesn't get it.

I know that my son is not being naughty or malicious, I have sensed for a long time that he is just not in control of his body and can't help his actions. He exhausts me with his endless energy. I struggle with how to discipline him - if this is not his fault, he needs extra empathy, compassion and patience which I find hard when he testing me to my limits. Also, I believe it is important to still be strict and discipline him like any other child who steps out of line to help him learn what is and what isn't appropriate behaviour.

My son cannot wear jeans or anything that isn't very soft and smooth. At times even sitting on the couch seems to be unbearable without a soft blanket under him. He also fluctuates from day to day, sometimes he is bouncing off the walls and can't get enough stimulus and other days buckling his seatbelt is hard for him to do and he's scared to touch anything. Sometimes raindrops falling on his skin seem to hurt him and birds chirping are too loud. He has some seeing problems too which is the hardest for me to understand, but I try.

He is hypersensitive to touch. Sound, every little noise drives him mad, smells everything and will not taste new food. He lives on breakfast cereal, bread, chicken nuggets.

He hates new situations and will go into himself if he is not happy with things. He's addicted to the tv and computer games but we have recently limited this activity as it appears to make him more aggressive, more hyper and less able to deal with frustrations at attempting to do things.

I am sure parents dealing with SPD children know exactly what I am talking about... People out in public would stare at me like why are you letting your li'l boy to roam around running. Ohh!!!... if they only knew. Sometimes I also feel tired of explaining to other regarding my son differences from the other but still in my heart I know I should be very strong for my son.

Believe me, there are people who can still understand without any explanation, but still there are some that despite of explaining , they could hardly understand...But I leave it that way...what matters most is my son. Children with SPD needs to receive our utmost love and understanding.
I believe SPD is real and my hope is that it is recognized sooner rather than later and people become more understanding and empathetic to the children and the parents of these children. Child rearing is difficult enough, without SPD thrown into the mix.

Right now, Rallione's school is very supportive and understanding and needless to say we have tried punishments, incentives, talking through with him how other children feel etc. Because he is very smart, appears to have no unusual 'symptoms', seems to be just another high spirited normal 7 year old, most people would probably say there is nothing wrong with him but having been around him 24/7 the last 7 years, I sense that if he is to be successful then these extra sensory needs need to be addressed before they cause real problems.

I am not a professional in this field, but I feel in my heart that someday we will see light at the end of the tunnel.

What is Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing refers to how we experience our surroundings. How we take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), organize and interpret that information, and make a meaningful and appropriate response.

Most people process information about their surroundings without even thinking about it. Lights may be glaringly bright, but we squint and ignore them. A room full of noisy people may make conversation difficult, but we talk louder and listen harder. Most of us never notice if our sock has a wrinkle in it, or care if our food is lumpy. But for people with sensory processing disorders, these situations bombard their senses, feeling more like an attack than a nuisance.

Sensory processing issues can make it difficult for children to concentrate, and may be misinterpreted as signs of ADD. Their seeming "over-reaction" to sensory input can also be misinterpreted as behavioral issues.

When a child is unable to cope with typical daily doses of noise, fluorescent lights, scratchy tags, food textures, and jostling crowds - parents may seek help from Occupational Therapists (OT's) that are trained in sensory processing issues. Therapy can reduce the child's anxiety and help them cope with and minimize their sensitivities.

At the opposite end of sensory processing issues, there are also children who seem oblivious to their senses. They seem to feel no pain and fear nothing. They may love rough-housing, and try to get other children to wrestle with them, not realizing that others don't enjoy it.
They may be spinners or rockers, and often love spicy or sour foods. Therapy can help these children to be more aware of their senses, help them moderate their behavior, and help their families provide a daily "sensory diet" rich in sensory experiences.

Blog Transformation (Sensory Processing Disorder)

Sorry it has been a long time! It takes me so long before I decided to share with you my struggle being a mother of SPD kid. Starting now I will join you in my journey in finding the hope and strength needed to get through raising my li'l boy Rallione, as a "mother of potentially gifted child with SPD".

I am now a stay-at-home mom trying to manage life with a "bumper and crasher" I'll share our journey, good and bad, as well as what we do and what we've tried to manage this disorder. We've learned so much together and I've learned so much from being her mom. I share about what therapies we have had and are currently having, what I've found works (or doesn't work) for us, information about special needs and how to be an advocate for your child. Here you will find all the latest updates, changes, new information, news about Giftedness, SPD and personal comments/questions.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog makeover

Friends and Visitors, I am on the process of make over, for your convenience. I am truly grateful for the support each of you has extended to my blogsite that resulted to more viewer who visited and linked to my site.

Please bear with me as I adjust and modify my template, topics that will surely suits your interest.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sat., Jan. 30: 2 Sam 12:1-7a, 10-17; Mark 4:35-41

Quiet! Be still! With a few simple words, Jesus calms the tempest. We should take note when our own lives are in up­heaval and our personal demons rage within us. We need to let Jesus exercise his might in soothing our internal storms. We need to quiet ourselves, be still and rest assured that the Lord will not allow us to perish.

*For faith that the Lord will save us from the violent squalls of our lives, we pray.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fri., Jan. 29: 2 Sam 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17; Mark 4:26-34

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. The Lord will meet us where we are. There is no intent to confuse or deceive us — no unfath­omable mystery or complicated theology. He speaks simply and directly to us in order to lead us to the kingdom. What would we or the Lord gain from our inability to comprehend his love for us and his purpose for our lives? No matter how insignificant we may feel, the Lord clearly wants us to real­ize that we’re called to be part of the kingdom. Those who get that idea will gain more than they can possibly imagine.

*Lord, help us to grow in understanding, we pray.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thurs., Jan. 28: 2 Sam 7:18-19, 24-29; Mark 4:21-25

Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor

The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. In our consume-and-discard society we’ll eventually face a serious crisis of diminishing resources. One commod­ity that is already lacking from our day-to-day existence is compassion. We may credit ourselves with possessing the gifts of generosity and consideration, but how generous are we, really? What if our Lord returned to us only what we gave to others? What if he held back for fear of not having enough for himself? Times are tough, but certain resources should never be in short supply — love, forgiveness, under­standing, acceptance, patience, justice and mercy. Indeed, the one who has these assets will surely be given more.

*That we may always share the countless and wondrous gifts we have received, we pray.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wed., Jan. 27: 2 Sam 7:4-17; Mark 4:1-20

Angela Merici, virgin

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time.

It’s easy at this time of year to enter the doldrums of our faith life. The excitement of Advent and the Christmas season has passed, and the discipline of Lent still seems far off. At seemingly high points in the liturgical year we have a tendency to regard our faith life like a new and ex­citing romance; however, often a relationship that starts like a whirlwind cools to a comfortable complacency that we take for granted. Jesus encourages us to keep the joy of our faith alive. We cannot leave it untended and expect it to grow. We must recognize every time of year, even so-called Ordinary Time, as the perfect season for God’s word to take root within us.

*Lord, find within us rich soil to sow your word, we pray.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tues., Jan. 26: 2 Tim 1:1-8; Mark 3:31-35

Timothy and Titus, bishops

Who are my mother and my brothers?

So many people seem determined to tear us apart. We can’t turn on the television or radio or open a newspaper without feeling the effects of our national and interna­tional divisions. The 24-hour cable news and the Internet allow for endless programs aimed at separating people. We teach children not to label by color, but we see no disconnect in judgmentally calling states red or blue or people conservative or liberal. It’s easy to question who our mother and brothers are when we can look across the aisle at church and see good folks whom someone constantly paints as our opposition. We need to recognize that people of faith and goodwill labor in many different ways to do the work of God. We may prefer our own ways, but we should have faith that the Lord guides our moth­ers and sisters and brothers to take different paths for the glory of his name. Lord, make us one, we pray.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mon., Jan. 25: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Mark 16:15-18

Conversion of Paul, apostle

I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. We’re never beyond the power of the Lord’s healing touch.
No matter how far we stray or what wrongs we’ve committed, the Lord seeks to bring us home. Regardless of the darkness of our sin, the Lord’s light can shine in our lives. Even if we’ve been deaf to the cries of those we harm, the Lord will continue to call until we no longer can ignore his voice. We simply need to recognize our failings and, like St. Paul, ask the Lord to guide us in our blindness.

*O Righteous One, speak to us. Help us regain our sight, we pray.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sat., Jan. 23: 2 Sam 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27; Mark 3:20-21

He is out of his mind. Short Gospel today. Calling folks crazy is one way of explaining why they stay faithful, resist temp­tation to follow the crowd, continue to love when love seems hopelessly naive. Another word for it is “saint.”

*For faith that withstands accusation, purity that resists temptation, love that embraces all that is good, we pray.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fri., Jan. 22: 1 Sam 24:3-21; Mark 3:13-19

He appointed the Twelve. Apostolic succession is one of the serious doctrinal issues that is a stumbling block to unity among the churches. It is ironic, but perhaps predictable, that the great unifiers are also the great dividers, the Eu­charist being the most obvious. And yet, many of the differ­ences among the Christian churches are simply a matter of style. We sing different songs, pray using different words, use different books — or no books at all. Dig deeper and we discover the common ground. Today on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision we remember another divider — the issue of abortion. We need to find common ground on the life issues and it seems possible only with God’s grace.

*For wisdom, creativity, humility and charity so that we may together find ways to reverence all life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thurs., Jan. 21: 1 Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12

Agnes, virgin, martyr

Unclean spirits saw Jesus and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God.’ Throughout the Gospel of Mark only the demons rec­ognize Jesus. His true identity remains a secret even from his followers and is revealed only when he dies on the cross and the centurion pronounces, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.” We are in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Sometimes we are so involved in our own community’s efforts and squabbles that we forget to pray for unity. Why should we? Because it was among the last wishes of Jesus before he left this earth: “Father, may they all be one.” Our divisions are surely the work of the demons, who recognize that a united church strengthens Jesus’ presence in this world.

*Lord Jesus, we pray with you to the Father: “Make us one.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wed., Jan. 20: 1 Sam 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Mark 3:1-6

Thus David overcame the Philistine. Like children everywhere, we love stories of the righteous little guy’s triumph over the powerful big guy. The powerful are after Jesus, watching for any misstep. Jesus, grieved by their hardness of heart and despite the danger, still heals on the Sabbath. We are in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Such unity, like world peace, seems an impossible dream. And yet a young boy defeats the Philistine army and Jesus makes his way to Calvary, only to rise to new life.

*For the impossible: for the unity of Christians and the success of our common efforts for a peaceful world, we pray.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tues., Jan. 19: 1 Sam 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-28

Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?

Occasionally Jesus set aside lesser laws in order to put into practice a higher law. We have a duty to imitate Jesus, but with the same single-mindedness and purity of heart. Jesus didn’t thumb his nose at religious authority. He was not a rebel, but one whose heart and mind were so attuned to the truth that he could only do what was right and just. There are situations where we find ourselves struggling with this conflict between lesser and higher laws. One that occurs to me is in the area of immigration. Aren’t some of the so-called “illegals” obeying a higher law of providing for their children? Can we fault them?

*For pure hearts and honest minds and God’s own wisdom so that we may always live out the higher law of love.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mon., Jan. 18: 1 Sam 15:16-23; Mark 2:18-22

New wine … old wineskins. Those of us accustomed to drink­ing a $3 bottle of Shiraz may find this image confusing. New wine will ferment and burst the old, stretched wine­skin. You need a new wineskin that will stretch with the expanding wine. Today in the United States we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It might be well to remember two things: 1. there are people who have only recently experi­enced a liberal activist Christianity. We should remind them that the civil rights movement was a Christian-inspired cru­sade against racism and included thousands of Catholics marching in the ranks. 2. It is not enough to change the law. The “new wine” of the Civil Rights Act was once too much for the “old wineskins” of our institutions, leaving us confused, resentful and scared. We cried, “What more can we do?” We stretched and we hurt, but it is more and more common for people of different heritages to join together, including in the White House. Where do we confront today’s new wine and old wineskins? Health care reform?

*For the generosity and strength to bear the burden of our convictions, we pray.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sat., Jan. 16: 1 Sam 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1a; Mark 2:13-17

I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. When we look at our world, our city, our church, our family and even our­selves, we may be tempted either to the sin of presumption (I don’t have to do anything. God will fix it) or that of despair (It can’t be fixed). Our pride is at the basis of both these wrong attitudes. We do not want to accept what we are — sinners who are incapable of making things right on our own, yet sinners who are so loved by God that we are called and empowered to be the Lord’s instruments in the healing of the world and its people.

*Lord, shed your light on us so that we may see both our great need and your greater love.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fri., Jan. 15: 1 Sam 8:4-7, 10-22a; Mark 2:1-12

They are rejecting me as their king. Those who stray from the Lord and the church often say it’s because they want to be “free” — free from rules and restrictions that they think will keep them from having total control of their lives (as if we ever had total control). If that sounds tempting, recall the saying: “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it!” Time and again, we try to remake God’s will into a more comfortable fit. Time and again, God gently leads us back through the scriptures and the church to the basic truth that in God’s rule and kingdom is our peace, our salvation and our protection from devastating harm.

*Lord, teach me that in your will is my peace and the peace of all the earth

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thurs., Jan. 14: 1 Sam 4:1-11; Mark 1:40-45

‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Jesus replied, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’ Jesus was “moved with pity” by the leper’s plea not only for physical healing, but for the freedom to re­join his fellow Israelites and to be shunned no longer. Jesus wants to heal us from whatever keeps us from full com­munion with the church. Notice that Jesus commanded the leper, as the final step of his healing, to do what the Law of Moses required. If we are separated from our fellow wor­shipers by an attitude, a sin or an estrangement from the community — even from one of its members.

*let us seek the resolution of this impediment to unity through coun­seling, repentance, confession and reconciliation. Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wed., Jan. 13: 1 Sam 3:1-10, 19-20; Mark 1:29-39

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. We can get so in­volved in proclaiming and working for God’s kingdom on earth that we become too busy to spend quiet time with the Lord in prayer and reflection. The Gospels tell us that Jesus withdrew from the demands of public life to pray and took his closest disciples with him to do the same. Our time of prayer must lead to love and service for our brothers and sisters or else it becomes a comforting fantasy. On the other hand, without frequent refreshment in prayer, we lose touch with the Lord and our true work of collaboration in building God’s kingdom in our lives.

*Lord, open our eyes to human need, our ears to your word and our hearts to ever-greater love.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tues., Jan. 12: 1 Sam 1:9-20; Mark 1:21-28

He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.

In Jesus’ time, people believed that sickness of mind or body was caused by an evil spirit and was often due to the sufferer’s sins, or even those of their parents. Today we depend on the discoveries of science, but it doesn’t change the fact that those who suffer, and their loved ones, are still focused on seeking a cure. We should remember that Je­sus’ healing power is still with us, actualized through the work of those trained to deal with disorders of body, mind or spirit. We cooperate with their help while we continue to trust and praise our Lord. A wise doctor of my acquaintance has a framed proverb hanging above his desk that reads: “I treat. God heals.”

*Lord, heal us and help the healers who are your instruments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mon., Jan. 11: 1 Sam 1:1-8; Mark 1:14-20

The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel. These words might make us think that Lent has ar­rived early, although the call to repentance and faith is a constant in the Christian life. The post-holiday blahs and midwinter doldrums are here. This is a good time to wake up and invigorate our spiritual lives by taking a quick inven­tory of our relationship with the Lord. We can ask ourselves: Have the holidays so upset my schedule that I’ve neglected prayer and meditation? Has holiday spending so exceeded my means that I’ve decided to economize by cutting back on donations to those in need? Let us restore sanity and balance to our lives by remembering that Christ’s call to ho­liness, generosity and love is always in season.

*Speak, Lord, your servant is listening

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sat., Jan. 9: 1 John 5:14-21; John 3:22-30

Children, be on your guard against idols. I must admit I was a bit shocked by the name of the show “American Idol” when it premiered in 2002. Talent-search shows were noth­ing new and the show itself didn’t bother me so much, but its name seemed such a brazen rejection of biblical injunc­tions against idolatry. Of course, our audacious adulation of pop stars and celebrities today also has subtler coun­terparts. We surround ourselves with golden calves — so much electronic gadgetry, so many ways to entertain our­selves, so much time given to vain pursuits, time we might otherwise give to God in worship and service. What are my idols?

*How can I say no to them and yes to God? For the grace always to put God first in our lives, we pray

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fri., Jan. 8: 1 John 5:5-13; Luke 5: 12-16

Who is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? In a world where vice of every sort still abounds, it’s easy for Christians to get worked up. Indeed, when we look at the world, we may see so many things that stand in opposition to what we value that we feel defeated rather than victorious. After much talk about the marvelous love we share with God and one another through Jesus, John now speaks of faith and its power in our lives. Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has won our salvation, and through our faith in him, his victory over sin and death is our victory.

*For faith that emboldens us to face every trial with confidence, we pray.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thurs., Jan. 7: 1 John 4:19–5:4; Luke 4:14-22a

This is the commandment we have from him: Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. God’s love is generative and organic, inspiring us to love all things in turn. To know God is to love all that God loves and has created. Yet we fool ourselves into thinking otherwise. We make ex­cuses; we see others as not measuring up, not deserving love. We judge their behavior in order to rationalize and jus­tify our own unloving behavior. But there really is no way around it: God has commanded that we love one another, no matter what. Let us distinguish the sin from the sinner when our brothers and sisters behave badly and see that this, in fact, is when they most need for us to be channels of God’s love.

*For the grace to love those who are hard to love, we pray.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wed., Jan. 6: 1 John 4:11-18; Mark 6:45-52

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.

Fear would seem to be the antithesis of love. Yet fear does have its function. It is a built-in protection mechanism, our innate, common-sense response to danger. But too often we don’t know what to do with fear. We get bogged down in it. We let it fester and morph into anxiety or depression. Adding to our trou­ble, people play on our fears, magnifying real dangers and manufacturing false ones. Let us use fear as it was intended, by taking it directly to the One who protects us from all harm and gives us con­fidence to face every threat.

*For the love that drives out fear, we pray.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tues., Jan. 5: 1 John 4:7-10; Mark 6:34-44

St. John Neumann, bishop

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us.

When I hike in the woods, I often recall the instruction a retreat director gave when he sent his retreatants out to take in the beauty of the retreat center grounds. “Don’t even try to love the Lord,” he would tell them. His hope was that instead they would attend fully to the experience of being loved by God. To give love generously, as God does, we need first to know God, the starting place of all love. When we know deeply, in our bones, how very much our God loves us, our love for others is both natural and spontaneous.

*For deep, abiding knowledge of God’s love for us, we pray.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mon., Jan. 4: 1 John 3:22–4:6; Matt 4:12-17, 23-25

Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God. In The Holy Longing, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser calls the Incarnation the most “under­understood” of Christian mysteries. The Incarnation was not “a one-shot incur­sion by God into human history.” Rather, it is ongoing, an ever-unfolding mys­tery: God, in the flesh, ever accessible to us now in the community of believers, the body of Christ. The fuller grasp of this mystery is, perhaps, what sets saints apart from the rest of us. Jesus Christ come in the flesh filled St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s mind and heart. But more than this, it permeated her words and her actions. She saw Christ in others; she acted as Christ toward them.

*May we do likewise. For a fuller understanding of God’s marvelous love, we pray.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sat., Jan. 2: 1 John 2:22-28; John 1:19-28

Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors

And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.

At this time of year we make many resolutions and implement changes in our lives for self-improvement. So there’s no better time to make or renew our com­mitment to live in confidence that Jesus is the Christ. We can resolve to reject lies and to denounce those would deceive us. As we enter into new beginnings, we look to what has been true and what we’ve known from the beginning.

*That we may resolve to live what is true, to be faithful to what we have been taught and to remain in him always, we pray.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thurs., Dec. 31: 1 John 2:18-21; John 1:1-18

To those who did accept [Jesus] he gave the power to become children of God. Ring out the old; ring in the new! This is traditionally a time to make resolutions, which often involve rooting out a bad habit and replacing it with … what? Often we have no good habit in mind. Let us resolve that in the year to come we will begin each day with a brief prayer, turning our lives over to the Lord and asking for the grace to grow more fully into a son or daughter of God. It sounds safe and simple, but — Beware! God’s delight at our request might lead to quite an adventure.

*Lord, take me as I am; form me into what you want me to be.

Fri., Jan. 1: Num 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

Mary, Mother of God

The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!

The words the Lord offers Moses to bless the Israelites are appropriate for all of us as we embark on this new year. The Hebrew word for peace suggests hap­piness and prosperity. The blessing gives us gentle and comforting images of the Lord smiling and looking kindly on us — of the Lord’s face shining upon us. How God’s face must have shone on Mary when he entrusted her to bear his son! This year, let’s resolve to look gratefully upon the many gifts and blessings we’ve received and to offer a confident yes to every opportunity we have to serve the Lord. Let our actions reflect our desire to bring a smile to God’s face.

*May we praise and glorify God and live each day in amazement at the power and wonders of our Lord, we pray.